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Troubleshooting Guide for Guitar Pedals

Having trouble with your guitar pedal? Follow along with our guide below to get your pedals back to working order.

Do you have your guitar plugged into the pedal?

  • Most pedals have protection circuitry that will keep them from turning on to save battery life unless the guitar is plugged in.

Did you test your pedal in isolation?

  • It’s best to troubleshoot your pedal by testing it alone with your guitar and amplifier (without any other pedals).
  • If the pedal works okay by itself, the issue is likely caused by another component or combination/order or pedals.

Is the power supply correct?

  • Make sure the voltage is correct. Your pedal will tell you whether it needs a DC or an AC power supply and how many volts it requires.
  • Make sure the polarity is correct (on DC power supplies). You can either have a positive (+) center or a negative (-) center. The pedal will specify which you should use, and the power supply will state it’s polarity. (The dot specifies the center).
  • Make sure your power supply has a sufficient amount of current (mA). As long as the current of the power supply is equal to or greater than the amount the pedal requires, you’ll be fine. This information is often found on the pedal, power supply and manual.Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 12.33.12 PMScreen shot 2013-09-09 at 12.32.16 PM

Are you using batteries?

  • Make sure your pedal is tested with a fresh set of batteries.
  • Economy brands may not perform as well as others. If you use batteries with your pedal, try a name brand or high quality option.

Are your cables functioning properly?

  • It’s best to test each cable separately to ensure proper fuctionality.

Are you using the correct type of cable?

  • Most pedals use 1/4-inch TS cables (tip-sleeve). If you try to use a TRS cable (tip-ring-sleeve), your pedal may not be compatible and will not pass audio.TipsTricks02

Do any lights turn on?

  • Some pedals are designed to only turn on lights when signal is present.

Does the pedal pass signal when bypassed?

  • If it does, check your signal routing and your cables.

Are you getting noise/feedback?

  • Remember that many pedals have multiple gain stages. When you plug your pedal in before you amp, you are adding more gain to your amplifier. Some noise is to be expected when you do this. To reduce noise or feedback, try turning down the gain in one or more places.


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